Posts Tagged ‘news’

Do you ever feel lately like the clowns are running the circus? Sometimes I get up, pour my coffee, turn on the news and push the off button after the first few words of the latest news report have run off the anchor’s teleprompter. Totally exhausting. Never that I can remember have I been so in need of a relaxing vacation. I’m leaning towards tropical but at this point a day trip to Death Valley is holding some appeal.

The majority of the smoke from the latest inferno has finally left the valley and a glorious backdrop of bright blue skies and white puffy clouds is visible from my kitchen window. There is a hint of fall in the air, my Halloween decorations are up (in spite of the fact I keep hearing it has been cancelled), and life is beginning to feel just the slightest bit, shall I dare to say it, NORMAL. Well, not pre-pandemic normal, but at least leaning towards weather normal. I’ll take it.

My birthday is on the horizon. It shows up about this time every year, and I am thankful to be sitting here writing about another full turn on my annual clock. There is always a touch of melancholy that passes over me a few weeks before my big day. Perhaps it’s the gentle mourning of the passage of another year or possibly indulging in a little reflection on what I’ve done with the 365 days since last I celebrated.

The littlest member of our clan, Zeppelin also recently celebrated a birthday, his second. The little guy has no idea how much world he still has laid out in front of him. For Zeppelin it was all about his new desk with interactive buttons, exploring the delightful sound of all the words he has recently discovered coming out of his mouth, and the dozens of balloons his family blew up to help make his day really special. My daughter said after I left he kept pointing at the door and saying “Nana”, that would be me. Loved that. I haven’t been able to get up close and personal with him since the pandemic made itself known so it is nice to know he still understands who I am.

Funny how we humans adapt to our surroundings. There would have been a time not to long ago if someone passed me in the driver’s seat of their car wearing a mask with a skull and crossbones on it, I would have assumed they were either attending a terrorism rally, off to an early Halloween party or had just knocked off a bank. Now it’s just another person dressed to go out for the day. I have probably ten masks in all different colors. People are always stopping me and commenting on them because most of the fabrics are colorful or have critters on them, so I guess they are somewhat more interesting than the plain black or paper models. Had I realized they were going to become such a hot fashion accessory I would have gone into production a few months ago. Truthfully, I could never charge for masks. Somehow that would feel uncomfortable to me. All manner of masks have shown up in the stores, however, so someone is making a profit off of them. There is always someone willing to jump on the band wagon when disaster strikes. No matter what the situation, a tee shirt seems to be generated to mark the occasion. Amazing.

Where there is money to made opportunists will show up for a piece of it. Scams are on the rise. Yesterday I heard there was a new scam involving Amazon. A victim was on the news describing how real the call seemed even down to the fine points like having a number appearing to be genuinely belonging to Amazon. In her case $1,000 was taken from her bank account. I use Amazon all the time, much more so since the bug arrived on the scene. Part of me is annoyed by the site, particularly since the company, so I’m told, doesn’t pay taxes. It aggravates the life out of me when people take, take, take and don’t pay their fair share to the pot. In this tax bracket companies can afford high end accountants well versed in finding the holes in the tax laws custom made to keep them from having to contribute. Conversely, you have a blue collar person working at a minimum wage job scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to pull together enough money to pay what the IRS says is their due. Don’t misunderstand me I’m all about capitalism and the right to do as well as you are capable of doing, but out and out greed is unacceptable to me. Just because you can get away with something does not necessarily make it the right thing to do. At any rate, I continue to go on to Amazon in order to not frequent stores on a regular basis and keep myself as safe as possible. Hypocritical? Most likely. As I say often, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Lately Amazon hasn’t been as reliable as it was in the past. I assume, like everything else, the downswing is due to the pandemic. It is hit or miss when I order a product when or if it will arrive at the front door. Several times of late I have had to generate a refund request for goods never received. When Rick was alive he always said I was his go to girl for any customer service issues. I am all about fairness. Never will I argue a point just to win, but if I feel I am right when it comes to good customer service I am like a dog with a bone. When we owned our restaurant I used to explain often to our wait staff how essential good customer service is to growing a business. Literally, it is the back bone of the restaurant business, or any business really. One dissatisfied customer walking out of the door doesn’t seem like a large loss, but when that customer tells a friend, a co-worker, a relative about their bad experience and they in turn pass it on to their circle that one person can cause a huge ripple effect.

A month and a half ago we invested in a rather expensive pillow for my mom’s wheelchair. From the description, it sounded perfect to keep her backside from getting sores or being uncomfortable after sitting for long periods of time. Because of a series of incidents the pillow didn’t get taken out of the original box until over thirty days after it was received. After being used for several weeks it became apparent it was actually causing sores and irritation rather than reducing the problem and wasn’t equally inflated making it uncomfortable to sit on. After locating a customer service number not listed on the site itself, I got hold of a representative. I explained the situation and, though pleasant, he said I was two weeks past the return window. That being the case, they could not return the money. Hmmmmm. Nicely, I said that would be fine. I went on politely to explain I had invested thousands of dollars with their business and in most cases been satisfied until lately. Since he was unable to return my investment (nearly $500) I would have to console myself by going on their site and posting an honest and detailed review of this product in the hopes of deterring anybody else from being caught in the same situation. The money, in total, was graciously refunded. I suggested they discontinue selling this product as it doesn’t live up to what is described.

We need to learn to have a voice. This does not mean going about bulldozing people down every time we are dissatisfied, but it does mean standing up for what is right. My “voice” is something that has come to me after years of not speaking up, or times I’ve let someone take advantage of me. Now, thankfully, I am able to stand up and fight for what is right. Rick used to say, “she’s little but she’s fierce”. Hah.

Blissfully I am about to slip on my tennis shoes and step outside for an early morning walk. Have a great weekend. Stay safe.

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finalTypically, the media was full of good news this morning. There was discussion about buzz among the scientific community that the end of the world, or big bang theory, is expected to arrive sooner than previously thought. A belief the universe will likely implode rather than explode is floating about. Either scenario doesn’t play well for those of us enjoying our time here. Not good news. Not good news at all. I hope it’s not directly imminent. I just bought a pair of the cutest new sandals I haven’t had a chance to wear yet and have a pricey rack of lamb cooling its heels in the freezer waiting for its debut on Easter.

Truly the good news can usually be jammed in a five minute segment most likely including an animal of some sort. I try to take in as little of the news as possible or I’ll be eying the gas oven as a way to put myself out of my misery. Last night I have to admit there was actually a bit of levity squeezed in between the gruesome murders, home invasions and horrendous accidents which are standard fare around dinnertime. A large bear, well truly the adjective is superlative here as most bears are, in fact, bigger than a breadbox, got stuck up a tree. I can imagine this created a rather nervous squirrel population in the immediate vicinity and probably not something I’m sure the local woodpecker or bee population is used to seeing every day. The bear, referred to by the emergency personnel as “Boo Boo” for whatever reason, lay comfortably draped over a large branch watching with idle curiosity as fire department and police below tried to figure out how extricate the animal.

Bears seem to be in the news lately. A local man reported having hit a bear in our area. Perhaps the animals are coming down in search of food with warmer weather arriving early. Maybe this bear simply was enjoying the limelight on a warm spring afternoon. Who am I to say? Bears also permeate my dreams of late. Emergency crews were on hand to relocate the treed bear to safety. I wish I had an emergency number to dial to get the bears out of my sleep. I would be most interested to understand their significance of their persisting presence in my subconscious.

In the midst of chasing bears while I sleep, or rather having them stalk me, I continue to prepare for the upcoming nuptials. Rick’s daughter, the bride in question, is a dog rescuer of sorts so I can imagine animals will figure in my time in Phoenix as well. Most likely we will find a plethora of furry friends in need of temporary rescuing at their house when we arrive in Phoenix. In our absence friends will be house sitting. They have an event to attend not far from here so the timing was perfect for them to move in while we are gone.

House sitting can be fun. During my lifetime I’ve taken the opportunity to do so on several different occasions. While living on the east coast I filled in for friends while they traveled abroad on several occasions. The home in question was a shingled somewhat weather worn cottage. The structure sat atop a sand dune on a long strand of beach in Massachusetts. My presence was required the first time during a particularly balmy week in July. Two bedrooms were inside but with the humidity high the rugged deck was where I chose to sleep with salty air, sea smells, and gulls calling beginning and ending my days while there. Along with its eclectic interior decor, ranging from rusted anchors to treasured china dolls, the airy dwelling offered up a glorious view of the deep dark Atlantic just outside the French doors. Loved it. I stayed there two more times before the house changed hands. Looking back I wish I’d snapped it up when it came on the market, but hindsight as always is 20-20, and money as always is an issue.

While living in California I’ve house sat twice. Once in Southern California. A lovely home belonging to a dentist and his wife taking a second honeymoon in Bali. Another time I obliged for a couple I worked with in Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley house was more modest than the dentists home by far. A cozy little tract home with a backyard butting up against an olive orchard. Peaceful and serene surroundings for a weekend away. I shared space while visiting with the couple’s corpulent Samoyed, Gracie, and Mitch, their tuxedo cat. Gracie was a lovely old dog, though prone to flatulence and suffering from arthritis. I assumed her well rounded physique to be due in part to her preference for doggie treats as well as movement causing her pain. Mitch, for the most part, minded his own business climbing on my lap a time or two to check me out. Apparently finding my company less than stimulating spent his time on the window sill or outside most of the day. Along with retrieving the paper and keeping an eye on the house I was tasked with keeping Gracie mobile, lest she stiffen up like the Tin Man, and keep the kibble flowing. There was little to do while there. Sometimes having nothing to do is a gift. Though it was explained to me, I never did get comfortable with using any of the sophisticated equipment occupying the impressive tower in the living room. Five remotes on the coffee table were required to maneuver your way through the equipment. With my luck I assumed I could take the entire unit down with one flick of a button. With no television or stereo to occupy my time, Gracie and I shared space in the padded lawn chairs out back. I caught up on my reading while Mitch scanned the sky for birds. Cell phones and computers not the rage back then, it’s amazing how much time you find on your hands when electronic devices are eliminated from the mix. In the end I enjoyed my stay there and the company of Gracie, gone now, who asked little of me other than an occasional piece of doggie jerky and a pat on the head.

So, we prepare to hit the friendly skies once again. With all the recent publicity about air travel, I hope this is only a metaphor.

This pie is a delightful way to use up leftover turkey. Certainly you could use chicken, but I had turkey on hand. This makes 4 pies. Reduce by half if you only need one or freeze the filling and make another at a later date.

1Turkey Pot Pie

3 carrots, sliced
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup butter
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, chopped
5 large mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups turkey broth (or chicken)
1 1/3 cups milk (I used non-fat)
4 cups cooked turkey meat, cubed or shredded
4 unbaked pie shells
1 egg plus 1 Tbsp. water (egg wash)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place carrots, potatoes, and and peas in large deep skillet. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking until vegetables are tender. Drain and set aside.

In same skillet melt butter over med. heat. Add onion, celery, and mushrooms. Cook about 8 mins. until vegetables are tender.

Mix together all seasonings. Sprinkle over onion/celery mix in pan. Add flour and stir to mix well. Continue cooking for 2 mins. stirring constantly. Whisk in turkey broth then milk. Increase heat to med.-high and cook whisking constantly until mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Add carrots, potatoes, peas, and turkey to mixture. Combine.

Place 1 shell in the bottom of each of two pie plates. Pour one half of the filling mixture into each pie. Top with remaining 2 shells. Pinch top and bottoms together and trim if necessary. Add four slits to center of each shell to vent.

Mix together egg and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush over tops of both shells. Bake for 1 hour. If crust becomes too dark around edges cover with tin foil.

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